Oh joy – a Belle (Emilie De Ravin)-centric episode. Heaven help us…
Let’s bitch it out…To be honest, I didn’t mind ‘The Outsider’ half as much as I thought I would. In truth it’s a decent episode…or at least half an episode. At the end of the hour, it occurred to me that there was nearly enough plot to justify a half hour episode, but stretched out to the full hour, there were a lot of lulls and repetitive pieces.
The story essentially boils down to this: Belle feels like an outsider (hence the creative title) in that she’s always considered helpless or useless. In FairyTale land, this is demonstrated by the lack of appreciation for her tracking skills in pursuit of the mysterious Yaoguai, while in Storybrooke we get the yawn-worthy push-pull to “save” Rumpelstiltskin (Robert Carlyle) from abandoning his good side in his battle with Hook (Colin O’Donoghue). It’s engaging enough, but there isn’t much more than that. Ultimately it’s clear that Belle will prove herself a valuable asset in both circumstances and, lo and behold, she does! Not a huge shocker by any stretch.
This is also one of the few times in recent memory that the FairyTale flashback story has been more intriguing than current events (let’s forget Red’s backstory and other recent misfires shall we?). We’ve never seen Belle interact with Mulan (Jamie Chung) and now it turns out she was instrumental in matchmaking the connection between the warrior princess and Prince Phillip (Julian Morris). It’s definitely far more interesting than watching Rumple walk Belle through his soap-opera past with Hook, especially considering there’s nothing new to the story that we haven’t already seen in 2×04 ‘The Crocodile’.
If the majority of the episode feels unnaturally extended, the cliffhanger ending is the definition of abrupt (which actually helps to enhance its impact). After figuring out a way to cross the town’s amnesia-inducing limits (explored in 2×02 ‘We Are Both), Rumple skips across and gives Belle a goodbye kiss. Naturally this is the moment Hook shows up, pumps Belle full of lead – and across the line. At nearly the same time as Rumple is about to exact some fireball-y vengeance a random car blows across the line, runs over the pirate and crashes into that rock that everyone crashes into coming into town. The big question is who’s in the car (the obvious money is on Neal Cassady)? We’ll just have to wait and see…
- Good to see the library set getting more use (judging from the number of times we’ve seen it, no one is Storybrooke does much reading). Question: why is the elevator built like a panic room?
- In the dull as dishwater B-story, Charming (Josh Dallas) and Snow (Ginnifer Goodwin) want to get their own place, and after a wimpy Grumpy (Lee Arenberg) worries about their safety following last week’s “murder” of Jiminy there’s the question of whether or not to try and return to FairyTale land. This a) feels like the big new obstacle that the remainder of S2 will tackle and b) reads like the new scheme the writers have cooked up to drive a wedge between Charming and Snow (he wants to go back and she disagrees). Ugh – these ridiculous roadblocks to them being happy are sooooo last season
- I don’t understand Emma’s upset reaction that Charming and Snow want to move out. You’re a 30-something woman who walked in on her parents having sex last week. You should want to get them into their own place ASAP
- Good news: the truth that Cora (an unseen Barbara Hershey) abducted Jiminy and the fact that he’s still alive comes out in record time. Best reaction award simply must go to Jennifer Morrison’s Emma who sees the supposedly dead man and barely bats an eye
- Emma again demonstrates her mastery of parenting skills when she is discouraged that Henry (Jared Gilmore) doesn’t respond to the pop tart she offers him at Jiminy’s wake. Gosh, Emma, who’d have thunk that carbs and sugar don’t fill the place of a dead, dear friend?
- Finally, who has the worst funeral clothes: Charming in his casual grey sweater (couldn’t even find a black one, huh?) or Meghan Ory’s Red, who may have skinned a distant cousin to make her hideous fur jacket?
What’s your take, readers: did Belle’s adventures merit an entire episode, or did this feel lightweight to you? Do you care if the Storybrooke residents return to FairyTale land? Where have Cora and Regina (a mostly unseen Lana Parrilla) been hiding? Did you find the multiple-cliffhanger ending effective? Sound off below with your comments
Once Upon A Time airs Sundays at 8pm EST on ABC